Low-impact cycling

This article was published in 2011, in Newsletter 98.

Cycling has so many benefits. It’s fun, healthy and relatively cheap, with few congestion and parking problems. Many of us would add: lower carbon emissions than other forms of transport (except walking). It produces about ten times less carbon than car travel, taking into account the emissions in each vehicle’s manufacture.

But the details are fraught: should we include the carbon cost of extra food to fuel our cycling, when for most of us fat-burning is a benefit? There’s even a credible argument that the environmental cost of the extra longevity of cyclists outweighs climate-friendly benefits! See: ‘The Environmental Paradox of Cycling’ www.camcycle.org.uk/jumpto/nl98paradox . But most of us value long healthy lives, and don’t advocate shortening life for environmental benefit!

Transport accounts for a quarter of UK carbon emissions, with the rest of our personal footprints coming from home energy, food and other consumption. Cambridge Carbon Footprint helps people work together creatively to reduce their CO2 emissions. If you’re interested, do join one of our acclaimed Carbon Conversations groups: six sessions in a supportive group to learn more and start your lower-carbon life. See: www.camcycle.org.uk/jumpto/nl98ccf

Tom Bragg